Sunday, March 21, 2004

Count On Carol, My Ass

I warned you Midtowners about electing Carol Chumney to the City Council, and now we're seeing the fruits of your votes. Sour fruits likely to yield little of value.

It reportedly started with her attitude on taking her seat. She isn't shy about reminding folks about her thirteen years in State government to the point her Council-mates felt she wasn't acting with proper "freshman humility." She breezed in with an attitude that caused friction.

Carol Chumney tried to suck up to Mayor Herenton. No surprise there, as she's made her mayoral aspirations known for years now. It's why she's on the City Council, to improve her media and governing profile. I warned you about that.

The real trouble began with her "open letter", printed in the Memphis Flyer. It reads like the sniffy, apple-polishing teacher's pet telling off the unruly students, blindly believing that being the best student makes her unassailable and right. She seems to be oblivious to the nest of relationships she entered in City politics and seems intent on remaining that way. Anyone can see that is a recipe for a whupping after class.

It happened in full view of the media. Chumney was publicly dressed down, in front of cameras by her fellow Councillors. Not once, but twice; once in a committee meeting and then again in the full Council. Her Council-mates excoriated her in no uncertain terms. Chumney, of course, missed the point and defended herself lamely.

One note on reporting here. The Commercial Appeal story is the usual newspaper style, taking words and phrases out of whole sentences, couching them in the reporter's words, ripping up the flow. The WMC story does a better job of giving the reader whole-sentence quotes. But both fail in providing a larger context. No television station, to my knowledge, ran the exchange unedited. We have no idea even of what started the fireworks off! What was said that triggered the exchange? I believe that reporters are so focused on micro-managing the story for us that they lose sight of the fact that modern technology gives *us* the opportunity to view the situation without their mediation. Oh, bad. We wouldn't need them if they just put this stuff up and let us make up our own minds now, would we. Sorry, I forgot.

Anyway. The upshot is that she's now in the shithouse. She tried to hold herself up as the model of a legislator, hoping to show by example how the others should behave. But she's done it in the most insulting and inelegant way. She's been shown for the prissy stuck-up she is, right there before God and Memphis. Her value to her constituents is now deeply discounted. She's going to have a hard time pushing through her projects, in the face of hostility and maybe a desire to punish her and remind her of her place. John Vergos knew how to navigate the shoals of the Council while still pushing for his projects and watching out for his constituents. Carol doesn't, amazingly enough, and will have a hard time getting anything for some time to come.

We in District Five will pay for her mistakes, for her ego and ambition. Thanks Carol. Knew we could count on you.

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